Welp here we are, 2 weeks later and not even a new baby or an international trip to show for it. But a much, much needed respite from blogging and all things internet-related was had by me, courtesy of the punishing process of home-buying in a seller’s market and a mild case of adult chicken pox, just to spice things up.
I feel better now. But my doctor warned me with a waggling eyebrow to chill out and get a handle on that stress, else I wanted to be a 33 year old woman with, well, stress-related illnesses. More on that later. The chilling out part, not the stress-related illness part.
So, where was I?
Ah yes. Last night around 10pm. Kids abed, but the biggest boys only just. (Something about weekends and popsicles and the sun staying up so dang long has pushed and pushed and pushed bedtime until the precious sliver of adult swim between diapering, teeth-brushing and cuddling and my own unconscious head hitting the pillow has been whittled to nil.)
Dave swung his head into our room to ask me “the usual,” which is our shorthand for “mommy kisses and cuddles,” performed after the exhaustive storytelling and wrestling routine that is daddy’s domain. He gave me a nonchalant smile, “I told them I’d ask, but that you’d probably give the standard reply.” And then he was off to find his book and a nightcap of peanutbutter from a spoon.
I meant to shrug and roll over, resuming my Kindle session, but I couldn’t get my head back in the book. About 5 minutes later I heaved myself reproachfully out of bed and padded downstairs, making my way into the room we affectionately refer to as “the troll cave.”
It smells and resembles such.
I knew they’d be long asleep, and that they’d be sleeping so hard that nothing I could do would wake them, should I have wanted to. I also knew I’d be free to whisper, tousle bleached blonde hair, and stroke still baby-soft cheeks without wiggling and farting noises and getting drawn into a wrestling match. It’s easy to be a tender-hearted mother while they’re sleeping.
I stood in the dark troll cave and whispered my dreams for their futures in their sweaty little ears, telling them what good and strong and joyful boys they are. That God has a great plan for their lives. That they are on an amazing adventure. That I was sorry for million ways I’d failed them that day.
After a few minutes I made my way back upstairs, flicking lights off and closing down the house for the first night shift. A teething baby has made uninterrupted sleep patterns once again a thing of the past, but I’m hopeful that this too shall pass.
Because this, too, has already passed. Is already in the past. I’ve had too many moments with each baby slip away into the hazy recesses of time, all but irretrievable, blurring together in a storm of exhaustion and endurance.
And even though every season of parenting can feel like It Will Surely Be the End of Me…it does pass. And like a hormone-addled idiot, I sometimes find myself longing for the sweeter moments that were present there too, alongside the hardship, because once they’re gone, they really are gone. Having 4 kids hasn’t made me more immune to the transient wonder of a crawling baby in the house, sending a panicked flurry of door and babygate-slamming adults fanning out in his trajectory, trying in vain to intercept any and all danger. Luke started crawling last weekend, and you would have thought he was not only my first baby, but the first baby I’d ever seen, period, to rise up on hands and knees and drunkenly careen into sliding glass doors and under end tables.
So last night when I got back into our bedroom and Dave smiled at me over his book and asked what I’d been doing, I told him.
“Someday they’re going to stop asking for me to come in and kiss them.”
And when that day comes, I don’t want to look back and hang my head over all the times I was too tired to say “yes.” I want to smile as we move into a new stage of late-night ice cream bowls and heart to hearts during drive time, remembering when they were tiny and slept like hibernating bears, and I could lavish them with kisses and cuddles and tell them they were my sweet babies.
Doesn’t mean I’ll say yes every time they ask, by any means. Mama’s still wrecked after a long summer day of full contact parenting. But I want to say yes most of the time. And I want them to remember the yeses.